On Wednesday, June 16, 2004, plaintiffs' lawyers filed unprecedented civil class-action lawsuits against tax-exempt hospital systems in eight states. Numerous additional actions against a broad array of hospital systems are expected to be filed throughout the country in the coming days.

Plaintiffs are uninsured persons who claim that defendant providers charge uninsured persons more for medical services than they charge for insured patients, that defendant providers engage in aggressive bill collection tactics against plaintiffs, and that defendant providers have not provided substantial charity care. Plaintiffs claim that by so doing the defendant providers have violated their obligations as tax-exempt entities. Plaintiffs seek damages and the establishment of a trust to provide care to the uninsured, with the trust comprised of the defendant providers' "wrongfully obtained" tax savings, assets and profits.

The Scruggs Law Firm, which played a major role in litigation against tobacco companies, is involved in the suits. A website has been established that includes all of the complaints filed to date and additional information. You may access this website at the following address: http://www.nfplitigation.com/NotForProfit/disclaimer.aspx.

Dorsey has been retained by a hospital system to defend against these lawsuits. Dorsey has a substantial national health care and consulting practice and Dorsey's litigators have defended against nationwide class action lawsuits brought by the Scruggs firm.